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In many ways, passing as straight and monogamous is a blessing in disguise. At best, this freedom can help you avoid painfully awkward conversations or unjustified termination at worst.

Unfortunately, most states in the US don’t provide legal protection to polyamorists, no matter their relationship arrangement. This means ethically non-monogamous employees can get fired or denied housing and insurance due to their unconventional familial structures.

Less serious—but equally emotionally and mentally damaging—consequences of coming out at work are being ostracized by coworkers and being perceived through a prejudiced lens without ever getting to tell your story.

Should you keep your poly status a secret?

To be fair, every workplace is different. Some are incredibly supportive and open-minded, while others are as conservative and hostile as they come. To answer the question of whether or not to come out in the workplace as poly, my advice is to weigh your risks.

What is your workplace culture like?

Not everyone is lucky enough to work in a progressive, inclusive environment. The best that many polyamorous folks can hope for is tolerant coworkers and employers who don’t insist on prying into their personal lives.

When you’re deciding if, when, or how to come out in your workplace, your company culture is a huge factor. Some industries are breeding grounds for gossip, and even if you disclose your identity to just one person, your entire team may become privy to your life story.

On the other hand, there are workplaces that are actively building an accepting work culture. These organizations instill the value of trust, inclusivity, and diversity. In this environment, you may feel safe sharing more personal details with colleagues.

Do you have a high chance of being fired if you come out?

If your answer is yes, the most practical course of action is to remain ambiguous or straight-passing. Many poly folks refer to their significant others as “partner” so as not to let it slip that they may have a spouse and a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner.

Being fired is most likely your biggest concern when deciding whether or not to come out as polyamorous. It’s an injustice, and it shouldn’t be a factor in your coming out story, but it is the reality for many people.

Risks of coming out as polyamorous at work

People who identify as LGBTQIADP+ carry an emotional burden when they live and work in places that are not sympathetic to non-normative individuals.

● Being terminated from your position

● Gossip behind your back

● Being seen in a negative light

● Being passed over for career advancements and discrimination

Benefits of coming out as polyamorous at work

On the bright side, representing your full self can bring about positive changes for you and others.

● Living your truth

● Educating others

● Emotional release from concealing a large part of your identity

● Gain support from colleagues

● Encourage others who are closeted

● Build an inclusive company culture

The pros and cons are not mutually exclusive, and you may find that your coming out at work is a rollercoaster of emotions and social maneuvering. In the end though, if you decide to come out, you’ll be living with your whole identity on display—a freeing feeling, indeed.

However, you do not have to share your personal life or relationship status with anyone (especially at work)  if you do not want to. Your coming out is your choice, and you do not have to put your employment and financial stability in jeopardy to feel like you are being a poly ally or doing your part in breaking down polyamory stereotypes.

Polyamorous Celebrities

By contrast, many celebrities come out as LGBTDIADP+ to utilize their large and public platform. They put their relative privilege to use and mobilize allies to bring polyamory to the mainstream, including the workplace for the average person.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith

This is perhaps the most famous couple who is open about their non-monogamous relationship. Their daughter, Willow Smith, also came out as polyamorous in 2021. Willow is regarded as a Gen Z idol, partly thanks to her frank and outspoken personality, so it’s no surprise that she’s very vocal about this aspect of her identity.

Indya Moore

Indya is an American model-actor known for her role as Angel in the TV series Pose, a drama that explores the LGBTQ subculture ballroom scene in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Indya is trans, non-binary, and polyamorous, but most of all, she’s a shining example of what it means to be your genuine self.

Bella Thorne

Bella got her start in the entertainment industry on The Disney Channel in 2010, and she came out as bisexual in 2016. In 2019, she announced that she identifies as pansexual and has since been an open book about her poly experiences.

Baron Vaughn

Baron is an actor-comedian with a long list of noteworthy works, including a supporting role in the comedy series Grace and Frankie. He’s also been a guest on podcast, radio show, and YouTube show episodes that discuss polyamory.

Deciding whether to come out to colleagues or not

Not being out as a polyamorist can feel like lying by omission. Beyond that, it can create some painful situations where one partner is out and the other is not, making the out partner feel like an immoral secret.

The bottom line is this: you choose what to share with coworkers and when, if ever. You are under no obligation to be anything more than cordial workmates, especially if your livelihood is at risk around the topic of polyamory. 

Until then, we can create changes in other ways like gently correcting coworkers when they express a blatant misconception about poly culture or sending reassuring messages to polyamorists online who have no support system. In the end, the only approval and acceptance you need is the one that comes from you.

Published By: Sister Wives 

Matchmakers Inc

Break-ups are never easy. There are complicated feelings to unpack and shared resources to redistribute, all the while trudging on with your day-to-day. But how do you break up in a poly relationship? We’ll share 5 pieces of advice here to help you maneuver through these difficult times.

5 tips on how to move on from a poly break-up

Use this time to rediscover yourself, what you have learned, and what you would like your future relationships to be like.

1. Allow yourself to feel everything

There are no bad feelings: Emotions are powerful, but they allow us to take a step back and analyze what is important to us at the moment. Do you feel betrayed? If so, you may need to talk to your ex-partner to find closure.

Do you feel anger? Then you may need to find an outlet to release your feelings or you may need time to flesh out your thoughts before expressing them. Emotions do not control us. Rather, we need to transform these feelings into appropriate, emotionally intelligent actions.

Grieving is normal: Like with any break-up, the end of a polyamorous relationship will probably be tinged with mourning and even regret. Let yourself experience grief over the “What if” and “What could have been” that is now in the past.

Not every break-up will be like this: It’s easy to feel jaded after a break-up, no matter how short or long the union was. The most important thing to remember is that no two poly relationships are exactly the same, so no poly relationship break-ups will be, either.

Although you can extract new knowledge about yourself and your poly relationships from your break-up, try not to carry over negative feelings into your dating life.

2. Let all your partners know how you feel

Talk it out: Even if your partner(s) doesn’t want to know all the details about your break-up, a great partner should always be willing to give you a shoulder to cry on. Utilize your village, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Ask for space—or extra support: If you’re worried about bringing others down with your post-break-up mood, take a day or a week to recalibrate. On the other hand, some people prefer to be around others when they are distressed.

3. Build a supportive network

Pick your confidantes: Not everyone gets polyamory. Not everyone wants to understand polyamory, so choose your allies carefully.

Tap into your poly network: The right people can not only comfort you but may be able to empathize with your situation. Other poly friends can share their experiences and may even give you advice on how to move on after a poly break-up.

4. Practice self-care

Eat nourishing food and stay hydrated: You may not feel like doing much now, but healthy food and drink are essential to maintain your mood and health.

Spend time in the sun: Ample exposure to sunlight reduces the likelihood of developing depression and it improves brain function.

Face feelings vs. numbing them: Yes, most people turn to drinks and other substances after a break-up. Yes, the emotional relief may feel gratifying, but it is only temporary.

5. Take time for self-reflection

Go on a trip: Take a page from Meri Brown’s living-my-best-life book and spend a relaxing weekend outdoors with loved ones.

Journal your feelings: Or, express your feelings in whatever way is natural to you. Paint, play sports, dance, build a car model, etc.

Pick up a new hobby: This is a great way to convert negative feelings into something productive. For instance, joining a new class at the gym or trying out pottery helps you develop a new skill while keeping your mind and body occupied.

Related Questions

How long does the average polyamorous relationship last?

A survey of 340 poly respondents (in different poly arrangements, e.g. primary, secondary) found that primary relationships last about eight years while secondary relationships last about five years.

How do breakups work in poly relationships?

This is a self-serving question because it really depends on the relationship. There are various polyamorous arrangements spanning throuples to relationship anarchy.

What can be answered is the question of when to break up with someone. Your experience may differ, but people often break up in open relationships due to a lack of or ineffective communication.

Another big factor in a break-up is whether or not the people involved still share the same life values and life goals. Of course, other variables include whether or not the agreed-upon relationship is casual or serious, whether or not the relationship is hierarchical, and whether or not everyone is satisfied with the current rules and boundaries within the relationship.

How do you feel secure in a poly relationship?

Poly relationships require extra thought and communication.

Establish rules and boundaries

…and revisit them regularly. People in the relationship should not be afraid to question, challenge, or propose an amendment to a rule.

Address all feelings

Read: Talk about jealousy and insecurity. This will not only help you develop better communication skills but build trust between everyone involved. Effective communication takes practice, and when everyone is not committed, that’s when break-ups tend to occur.

Understand that love is not a commodity that’s cut up into pieces

Love is unquantifiable, and poly love is proof that it’s infinite. This is to say that just because your partner is enamored with their new partner does not mean they love you any less.

It just means they have discovered their capacity to love even more, in a whole different way. Their other relationship has no bearing on how they feel for you, because your relationship is unique, too.

Final Thoughts

Cheesy as it sounds, break-ups are the beginning of a new chapter. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new book, even. One thing is for sure when you leave a relationship behind: You take away new experiences and wisdom to help you develop greater relationships in the future.

If you’re having doubts or issues as a sister wife, don’t be afraid to talk about changing the rules. After all, relationships are only successful when everyone is heard and understood

Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc:

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